Dominick Reyes enters UFC 247 as a sizable underdog, but he has the tools necessary for a shocking upset. Here’s an analysis as to how he could take out Jon Jones.
Whilst Jon Jones may seem invincible at times, some opponents have still given him a hard time. Notably, Alexander Gustafsson and Lyoto Machida had some great moments of success on the feet with Jones. So what can Reyes learn from them?
In their first contest, Alexander Gustafsson had great success with his lateral movement. This incorporated staying off-path from Jones’ kicks, back steps and pulling the champions towards him. In the rematch, Gustafsson took a different approach resulting in less success. He stepped into clinches, eating Jones’ deadly knees and elbows as a result. This also allowed Jones to score the takedown which ultimately led to the finish.
Lyoto Machida definitely had success standing with Jones too. Every time Jones threw a kick, Machida threw a counter left. Given that Reyes is a southpaw, the hardest hitting one Jones has fought, this is critical. This would also create perfect opportunities to lead aggressively as he counters because Jones would be off-balance.
Jones’ Biggest Weapons
Jon Jones obviously has many strengths, hence why nobody has yet solved the puzzle. Two of his biggest strengths are his kicks and his reach. It’s vital that Reyes suppresses these weapons to implement his game plan. Most of Jones’ opponents don’t step in to nullify and smother him because of his clinch game. Therefore, Reyes will need effective footwork to shut him down.
Another one of Jones’ favourite weapons is his stiff-arm. As a southpaw, Jones’ stiff-arm actually leaves Reyes to land good boxing combinations. This could also leave Jones susceptible to a nasty overhand, utilising Reyes’ biggest weapon, his power.
How Reyes Can Win At UFC 247
This analysis can construct a concrete strategy to not only beat, but pulverise Jones.
1. Stay off-path from his kicks by sidestepping and circling
2. Only step in to engage on his terms and swiftly step back out
3. Don’t allow Jones to plant his feet and lure him in
Jon Jones appears particularly fired up for Reyes, especially compared to his recent outings with Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos. This could spark aggression and volume from Jones, playing into Reyes’ countering hands. The priority for Reyes is to bait and have Jones lead the dance, it’s imperative.
Of course, this is Jon Jones, arguably the greatest combatant to ever live. Dealing with his length and incredible fight IQ is no mean feat. Regardless, Dominick Reyes should not be written off. He has the tools necessary to not just dethrone Jones, but to do so emphatically.
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